The COVID-19 pandemic will not just cause the deaths of hundreds of Filipinos but it will lead to the birth of more babies, too.
Juan Antonio III, the executive director of the Commission on Population and Development (POPCOM), told ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo in an interview today that almost 2 million babies are expected to be born next year in the Philippines due to the lack of access to contraceptives that was caused by the lockdowns.
The estimate was based on a study made by the University of the Philippines (UP) Population Institute and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
“The regular number of births in the Philippines, like in 2018, was 1.7 million. Now the UP Population Institute has made a projection, in coordination with the UNFPA, that there will be 214,000 additional [births]. So it would appear that 1.9 or almost 2 million babies are [expected] next year [to be born] in the Philippines,” Antonio said in English and Filipino.
Antonio said the quarantines imposed in different parts of the country have made it harder for Filipinas to go to health centers where contraceptives are made available. At the same time, these clinics had to be closed temporarily because their employees couldn’t report for work.
“They saw that about 600,000 Filipino women couldn’t get their family planning supply because of the lockdown; it’s hard to go to the health center. These health centers are possibly understaffed [too] so we’re asking the local government if they could deliver family planning supplies to each home,” Antonio said.
“According to UP, if the lockdown continues, more women won’t be given [contraceptives]. If 600,000 [women] are not given family planning supplies, at least 200,000 unplanned pregnancies are expected,” he added, and said that about 10 percent of those who will give birth are still in their teens.
It was just in December when POPCOM reported that the population growth rate of the Philippines slowed from 1.73% between 2010 and 2015 to 1.52% annually from 2015 to 2019. At present, the country has an estimated 110 million population this year.